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While Saving Lives, Seat Belts Can Also Reduce Serious Injuries in a Virginia Car Crash
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

There is no doubt that seat belts are crucial safety devices that protect vehicle occupants during car accidents. Multiple studies have shown that seat belts save thousands of lives every year. But while they significantly reduce the risk of severe injuries, there are instances where seat belts themselves can cause internal injuries.

The severity of the injuries caused by seat belts can vary depending on factors such as the speed the vehicles were traveling at the time of impact, where the victim was sitting in the vehicle, and the effectiveness of the seat belt system. In some cases, the injuries may be relatively minor, resulting in contusions and bruising that resolve over time. However, more severe accidents can lead to life-threatening injuries, including organ damage, internal bleeding, or the need for surgical intervention.

The following are some of the most common types of injuries that victims can sustain from seat belts during a vehicle accident. If you have suffered injuries in a crash caused by a negligent driver, a Virginia car accident attorney can help.

Seatbelt Syndrome

Internal injuries caused by seatbelts are commonly referred to as “seat belt syndrome.” Seat belt syndrome encompasses a range of injuries that occur from the forces applied by the seatbelt during a collision. These injuries primarily affect the abdomen, kidneys, bladder, colon, small bowel, and spine.

Contusions and Bruising

Seat belt-related internal injuries often manifest as contusions and bruising. The forceful impact of the seatbelt against the body can cause deep bruising and contusions to the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Although these injuries may be visible externally, there are also many cases where the injuries can only be detected using medical imaging techniques. This is why it is critical to seek medical attention after any accident.

Rib Fractures and Chest Injuries

The pressure exerted by a seat belt across the chest can lead to rib fractures and other chest injuries. The rapid deceleration and restraining forces applied by the seat belt can cause significant trauma to the ribs, leading to fractures and potential damage to surrounding organs, including the lungs.

Abdominal Injuries

Seat belts can also cause internal injuries to the abdomen. The sudden deceleration of the body can result in blunt force trauma to the abdominal area, potentially causing injuries to organs like the liver, spleen, kidneys, or intestines. These injuries may range from minor contusions to more severe lacerations or internal bleeding.

Pelvic Injuries

The lap portion of a seat belt can contribute to pelvic injuries. During a collision, the force exerted by the seatbelt across the pelvis can lead to fractures or other trauma to the pelvic bones. These injuries can be particularly severe and immediate medical attention may be necessary.

Importance of Seat Belt Use

Despite the potential for internal injuries, it is crucial to emphasize that seat belts save lives and reduce the risk of more severe injuries. The benefits of wearing a seat belt far outweigh the potential risks of internal injuries. It is critical that everyone who gets into a vehicle wears a seat belt properly, with the lap belt positioned low across the hips and the shoulder belt positioned over the collarbone and across the chest.

As mentioned above, if you are involved in a car accident and experience any symptoms such as chest pain, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, or swelling, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Internal injuries can be serious and may require prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Seeking Legal Recourse

If you have suffered internal injuries due to a seat belt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the losses your injuries have caused you. A Virginia Beach car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you understand your legal rights, navigate the claims process, and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you may have.





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